My mother in law recently passed away. She had been going downhill since she had surgery August of 2016. She was showing signs of dementia and it got worse as the days went on. Her previous doctor even has that in her medical records.
Before she had surgery she filled out a will. She had four children. In the will she left all four children equal shares of real estate that she owned.
In March of 2017, 2 weeks after she was admitted into a nursing home, she signed a living trust transferring all of her real estate to my wife’s sister. We thought that once my mother in law passed, the property would be divided equally. It wasn’t! My sister in law gave one of her brothers a parcel and she kept the rest.
My question is, can we do anything about what happened?
My sister in law took advantage of an incapacitated elderly person.
What are my wife’s and other brother in law’s legal rights?
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:
A Last Will and a Trust do not cancel each other out. They govern different assets. A person who sets up a trust will transfer title of real estate and/or bank accounts to the trust and the Trustee of the trust is responsible for distributing the assets according to the terms of the trust. Asset in the trust avoid probate and court oversight. Any asset which the decedent owned individually with no other joint owner or beneficiary named on the asset is governed by the Last Will and those assets must go through the probate process. If you believe that your mother-in-law was coerced you need to consult with a probate/trust litigation attorney.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire
The probate litigation attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.